The Enlightened Polity as an Autonomous Intentional Collective

In Questions of Identity. Hradec Králové: Gaudeamus. pp. 78-104 (2018)
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Reflecting on the months leading up to and following the 2016 United States presidential election, in an essay published in January of 2017 I argued that the left/right dichotomy of the Democrats and the Republicans was no longer carving at a joint of American politics (Stovall, 2017). Instead, it seemed a more salient political division in the U.S. was that between what I called the urban globalists and the non-urban nationalists. This essay situates the apparent conflict between urban globalism and non-urban nationalism in the context of a development in European self-understanding owed to German idealism. I will articulate this self-understanding by relating it to the period of the European Enlightenment, and in the process I will argue that a theory of collective intentions may point the way toward a more thorough understanding of the phenomena that lie behind the growing opposition between nationalist and globalist tendencies in Europe and the United States today.



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Preston Stovall
University of Hradec Králové

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